"Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, facing intense political pressure to toughen enforcement [read: do their jobs], removed 221,664 illegal immigrants from the country over the last year," the Times reported ominously. That's "an increase of more than 37,000 -- about 20 percent -- over the year before, according to the agency's tally."221,664. Big number. It certainly sounds like we're getting serious about immigration enforcement, if you believe what the Times tells you.
But you know better than that. It's what the paper didn't tell you on the day of the pro-amnesty demonstrations that provides the truly alarming news. Far from a nation that takes its immigration laws seriously, we remain in a shoddy, dangerous state of immigration non-enforcement nearly six years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- chaos that will only worsen if Congress and the White House join hands on a "comprehensive" illegal alien amnesty plan.
In March, the Homeland Security Department's inspector general disclosed that the feds have lost track of 623,292 fugitive illegal aliens. These "absconders" were apprehended by immigration officers, placed in the immigration court system, ordered out of the country and released. Never to be seen again.
221,664 "removed" illegal aliens vs. 623,292 released illegal alien fugitives.
In other words: There are nearly three times as many officially designated illegal alien fugitives freed by the feds as there are illegal aliens who have been removed over the last year.
This inconvenient truth was glossed over by the Times.
So was this: Despite more than $204 million earmarked since 2003 for 52 special fugitive operations teams across the country, the "backlog of fugitive alien cases has increased each fiscal year since the [fugitive apprehension] program was established in February 2002."